Budget Passed Without Provision For Minimum Wage Increase
Nigeria News takes a look at the 2018 appropriation bill recently passed by the Joint National Assembly but with no provision for a minimum wage increase.
The joint session of the National Assembly eventually passed the 2018 Appropriation bill to a law on Wednesday. The proposed bill was N8.16 trillion, which of course was laid before the joint session of the assembly about six months ago.
The parliament received the bill in November 2017 but has delayed its passage till Wednesday. We learnt National Assembly raised it to N9.12 trillion.
One would have thought that the appropriation committee would have trimmed down the figure rather than inflate it. Perhaps, this action of the parliament might not be unconnected with a move to consolidate their hold on the government.
From the inception of this administration, we were told budget planning would be done on a zero-based budget plan, a bottom to up system of costing.
But in the first budget proposal of President Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2015, the 2016 budget was smeared with padding and blame trading amongst the parliamentarians and the executive.
It seems that budget administration is just a mere formality. It’s almost mid-year and expenditure has not ceased yet implementation of the budget still on hold.
The question is, Will Mr President assent to this figure considering the time constraints is a big question or will he disregard the decision of the parliament and increase the barometer of hostility that has been brooding silently.
The election is drawing closer, some bridges would be collapsed, some disused, some reconstructed whilst some would be maintained.s
However, the sad angle to the budget is that it has no provision for a minimum wage increase, which is what millions of workers of Nigeria are waiting for.
According to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sen. Danjuma Goje, there is no provision for an increase in the minimum wage during the year in the budget.
Goje said shortly after the passage of the bill, adding that the failure to capture the wage in the budget may have been because deliberation on the issue had not been concluded by the Executive.
“The government has not brought it. I think that the issue of minimum wage is still under consideration.
“It is still at the committee level with the Executive. When they bring it to us we will look at it; ours is just to make law.
“If the Executive decides to pay workers N100, 000 per day or whatever it is, if they bring the Bill and can justify it, we will pass it.
“When they bring it, we will consider,” he said.
The lawmaker also said that subsidy on oil was not captured in the budget.
He said “the issue of subsidy was raised on the floor.
“It was explained that the Federal Government officially abolished subsidy. So, it is not for us to introduce subsidy.
“If they want to pay the subsidy in accordance with the law they have to bring it to us to appropriate.
“If they bring it, we will appropriate. For now, officially there is no subsidy,” he said.